In the last year I have done all three and while it has been occasionally nerve-wracking, it has definitely been interesting and worthwhile.
Some events I've been to:
HE in FE Bristol Conference - this was quite a large conference in Bristol. I got the chance to listen to many different speakers from various colleges and universities and also got chance to meet up with some people I knew from the affiliated universities I work with. Listening to the speakers made me think about how students are going to perceive the library and its offerings post fee hikes, which was rather worrying. It also made me realise that almost all universities allow the librarians from their partner colleges access to their eresources in order to help students use them. Unfortunately, the one university we are partnered with who doesn't do this wasn't there but I will keep arguing for access. It also made me realise that the institution I work for does many, many really good things but we aren't talking about them at conferences such as these. I aimed to change this!
CoFHE Enrichment day - As a new member of CoFHE LASEC, I was asked to speak at the CPD day the held in March. I was used to speaking in front of a room full of students but never in front of a room of professionals so was rather nervous. I spoke about my role in the institution I work for, how I support the HE students, how I keep the HE Centre running smoothly and the impact of a recently installed cafe in the premises. People started asking questions which was encouraging as it showed they had been listening and overall I enjoyed the afternoon.
Due to this experience, I have fewer qualms about speaking at the next event in November and it has also helped increase my confidence in delivering training to academic staff, a recent addition to my role as HE Resources Advisor. I've never embedded fonts though, recommended on the cpd23 blog. This has never crossed my mind although it seems like something I should be doing though! I do use Powerpoint (PREZI takes far too long to prepare) but I don't think I make any of the usual mistakes people do. I find memorising my opening sentences very helpful for keeping nerves at bay and telling myself that the audience doesn't know what I forgot to tell them.
London lib teachmeet -I've previously reviewed this and it was also included in the Information Literacy website!.
Various Like events - these events are completely different to anything I had been to before. They are held in a pub and there are friendly, interesting people from all sorts of different organisations, although there doesn't seem to be many from college or universities. There will be a speaker and then we will all discuss the topic over dinner - very civilised. I haven't been to many due to them being a little tricky transport wise to get to but I do intend to keep attending as they are a useful reminder that there is a much wider organisation out there working in the information sector.
CoFHE LASEC Information Literacy and Teachmeet - I helped to organise this as I had volunteered the use of the HE Centre as a venue. It was stressful but I guess all first attempts at organising are. Certain things didn't work but we got good feedback and hopefully as my experience increases my abilities will strengthen. A more in depth description can be found on the CoFHE LASEC blog.
Equality and Diversity Conference - it was a free opportunity and I took it., before realising quite how how tricky it was to get to Havering College from my home! I was the only one who attended out of the E and D Committee so at some point in the near future I will have to report back to lots of directors, something I'm not particularly looking forward to! I also asked a question too in front of the whole audience - we all kept being told how Equality and Diversity was important for all areas of the College and how it was a seamless experience for the students but the library/LRC was never mentioned, so I asked why this was the case. The audience were then told what a fantastic job the LRC did and how they were fully integrated into the college, so I left quite pleased.
Birmingham Lib camp - I will be attending this in October and I am looking forward to it. I have never been to an unconference and I am slightly concerned that it may be unorganised. On the other hand it will be based on what people really want to talk about so could be incredibly timely and relevant.
There are some events which I would have liked to attend such as LILAC, Umbrella and the CoFHE Conference. Funds not withstanding, it's incredibly difficult to get time out of work so events are after work in my own time or at the weekends. As much as I am a committed professional, I also need to remind my husband and kittens of my existence on occasion. I've followed events on Twitter and intend to attend webinars. I recently missed one by the SLA, of which I am recent recruit. It was called how to teach something you know nothing about. Having just started teaching academic staff how to use Moodle 2.0 and also teaching myself it at the same time as doing my usual day job, this is no mean feat and seemed an appropriate title!
I have entered competitions for a couple of different conferences but haven't won anything. I became a little disheartened especially as you put a lot of time and thought into it but I do intend to start looking out for stuff again, especially as some of the other librarians I've spoken to have received so many awards and bursaries.
So plans of action are :
- learn how to embed fonts
- enter more competitions, especially for LILAC, Umbrella and CoFHE
- volunteer to speak more often
- prepare for November's CoFHE LASEC event.